Florida Retailers Paralyzed by Storm

Florida Retailers Paralyzed by Storm

February 14, 2022

Florida’s retail giants were paralyzed from one end of the state to the other Sunday by storm damage, a mishmash of travel curfews and the staggering loss of power and gasoline.

Florida’s retail giants were paralyzed from one end of the state to the other Sunday by storm damage, a mishmash of travel curfews and the staggering loss of power and gasoline. From malls to convenience stores, operators had no good time frame for when they will return to business. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is still assessing the ability of stores to crank up in Central Florida, company representative Sharon Weber said Sunday afternoon. Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is dealing with everything from damaged outlets in the Bahamas to the frustration of sitting on tons of supplies poised to restock more than 400 outlets throughout Florida, said Kathy Lussier, company spokeswoman in Jacksonville. Rigs are loaded with tons of ice, water and regular supplies. In anticipation of demand, the grocer converted its milk-bottling operations in Plant City and elsewhere to bottling water on a short-term basis. Many area shopping malls planned to reopen Tuesday, including Florida Mall, Orlando Fashion Square, Mall at Millenia, Oviedo Marketplace, Seminole Towne Center and Altamonte Mall. Local banks already were scheduled to be closed Labor Day. SunTrust Banks said it would be restocking ATM machines as needed Tuesday and will decide today which of its branches will reopen Tuesday. The problem for many businesses, large and small, will be power and power poles, not willpower. Leigh Shannon and Joe Riedley, co-owners of Ritzy Rags, Wigs & More on North Mills Avenue, returned to their shop Sunday. Three weeks ago, Charley blew out a window and demolished their display, costing about $6,000. Frances, though, left their building largely unscathed.

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